Self-esteem is elaborated as subjective emotional evaluation, one’s attitude toward one self and the evaluation of themselves in relation to self-worth. Furthermore it can also be expressed as the confidence and satisfaction associated with the life of a person. Hence researches explored that individual with high self esteem may effectively deal with psychosocial stressors in order to maintain peace and harmony in one’s life. Hence low self esteem can be associated with dissonance (state of mental restlessness, inconsistency of thoughts, attitudes or beliefs) in one’s mind.

Muhammad-Saghir-1Muhammad Saghir has done Msc in applied psychology. Currently he is doing M.phil in clinical psychology from international Islamic University Islamabad. He has keen interest in research hence he has conducted a research on depression and subsyndromal depression.

Editor: Hameeda Batool

This mental or cognitive dissonance propels a person to confront problems. At this stage, if someone has effective abilities to evaluate one’s self and maintain emotional stability may help him/her to utilize effective coping skills. Moreover enhanced confidence and self satisfaction can increase self-efficacy (a belief to execute behavior or do something) that can handle threats effectively. Self esteem and self efficacy are important because the way individual evaluates oneself has an impact on the mechanism of one’s behavior. On the other hand, low self esteem has destructive impact on one’s life such as individuals with low self esteem always struggle to get success, happiness and joyfulness in their lives. They usually have negative evaluation of self they don’t feel themselves worthy of enjoying life.


They also have cognitive errors such as tendency to exaggerate negativity or failure to enhance hopelessness and helplessness. They have maladaptive strategies to overcome helplessness through substance abuse as an escaping mechanism. Consequently they get affected relations and distorted interpersonal, intrapersonal relationships. Additionally individuals who have addictive personality they are likely to have a very common trait of low self-esteem which is a common deficit of their addictive personality. They are more likely to abuse alcohol or other addictive drugs. When people start using substance, they feel that it will increase their self-confidence, because substance abuse helps them to become less aware or concerned with what people think about them. Eventually individuals with low self esteem confide themselves to substance in order to cope with life or psychosocial stressors. The misconception of this positive outcome expectancy may result in vicious cycle of substance abuse disorder and as a result low self esteem can reinforce addiction and keep them trapped into it.

Here are some causes of low self esteem:

  • Physical, emotional and sexual child abuse.
  • Lack of positive rewards from their immediate environment and harshly criticized.
  • Victim of racial prejudice, bullying, lack of connectedness, and physical disability or any source of perceived inferiority.
  • Absolute thinking about one’s experiences such as being expected to be perfect all the time. Individuals with low self-esteem were often given messages from parents, teachers, peers, or others that failed experiences were failures of their whole self.
  • Exaggeration of negative outcomes. People with low self esteem tend to focus on negative aspects only and always avoid or minimize the positive one.

Effect of low self-esteem develops a sense of learned helplessness because a sense of failure to value one’s self leads a failure to take care of one self. It is also a sign of decrease self-efficacy which limits one’s potential. Low self-esteem may also result in broken or insecurities in relationships, lack of trust, and distorted self image.